31 May 2012

MMM'12: the final few & my new favourite skirt

And here we are at the end of May, and the end of my first me-made challenge.

Here's what I wore this week:
MMM'12: Week 5: 1/3
On 28 May, I wore:
Skirt: me-made Simplicity 2215, in Liberty (My Little Star)
Top: Cos
Shoes: Clarks

Oh how I love this skirt. It's lined with bemberg rayon, which was hellish to sew, but it's a joy to wear. It's a perfect summer skirt: light, swishy and comfy. Mr P&N said it's like something a middle-aged librarian would wear. But what does he know.

MMM'12: Week 5: 2/3
On 28 May, I wore:
Skirt: me-made Amy Butler Barcelona skirt (with Anna Maria Horner fabric)
Top & Belt: Anthropologie
Shoes: Clarks

These are my two favourite colours (salmon/coral pink and any kind of blue!). This is the first skirt I made (pre-blog) and there are some fitting issues around the waist: I might take a couple of inches off the length of the waist - it's just far too high for my liking, and without the belt it gapes.

MMM'12: Week 5: 3/3
On 30 May, I wore:
Top: me-made Wiksten Tank, in Liberty lawn (Melly)
Trousers: Gap
Shoes: Clarks Originals

Amusingly, a bird pooped on my shirt on my morning walk to work. And such is the print that I didn't even notice until lunchtime. (and hopefully, nor did anyone else)

And finally (*cue fanfare*):
MMM'12: last day!
Today I wore a whole me-made outfit:
Shirt: me-made Wiksten Tova with elephants
Skirt: me-made denim Butterick 2779 (vintage) - new!

Meet my brand new (and now most favourite) skirt. Also, my first attempt at a vintage pattern. This is a 1960s Butterick 2779 "cone-shaped" skirt. I bought it because it was part of the fully proportioned range, and also, it only cost 99p.
It turns out that cone-shaped is A-line, and is very flattering for my shape (I think). The pattern is rated quick n' easy, and it certainly is. I didn't even make a muslin (shocking, I know). In fact, I didn't really pay any attention to the instructions - if you've made a skirt before, there's nothing new or special here.

The tall size was actually too long, so I went for the medium, which is a perfect length (just below the knee). The pattern is for a 40" hip, which is what I measure, but I had to make some adjustments: I took 1" off at the side seams, and also lengthened the front darts by 1". The fit is almost perfect, but I think something also needs to be done to the back, but I don't know what - any ideas?
Excuse the creases!
There are some minor wrinkles: do I need a sway-back adjustment, or do I just need to lengthen the darts?

I used an invisible zip, and finished it off with a bit of ribbon to the hem:

This skirt doesn't require much fabric at all. I used 1m of denim from Fabrics Galore. I think it has 2% stretch, because it's very comfortable. I think if I made this with a fabric that didn't give as much, I would need to add a teeny bit more ease around the hips. It's my first experience of working with denim, and it was all pretty straightforward. I have very blue legs though, from the colour bleed. And while working on the skirt, I had very blue hands too.
slightly wrinkled from being worn out all day

This skirt is going to be a workhorse. I want to wear it always. I'm already thinking of making another in a lovely light blue polka dot cotton/linen I bought in Seville on my birthday.

The sums:
Pattern: 99p
Thread: £1.55
Zip: £0 (from stash)
Fabric: £8
Total: £10.54

And so there it is. Me-made May is over. I'll be back in a couple of days with my thoughts on the experience. But until then, have a lovely weekend!

speak soon

28 May 2012

MMM'12: Week 4

Wow - the month has flown by! Here's what I wore last week:

MMM'12: Week 4: 1/3

On 23 May, I wore an entire me-made outfit!
Top: me made Simplicity 2599 in Liberty lawn (Toria).
Skirt: Wiksten Tulip skirt
Shoes: Clarks

This top is the first item of clothing I ever made. Yep, I jumped straight in with a Liberty! and no muslin - it could have ended in tears! Fortunately it turned out fine. I'd like to make this pattern again - I think I could easily go down a size around the shoulders/bust. I was totally inspired by Karen (her versions of this pattern were one of the main reasons I started to sew clothes in the first place!).

MMM'12: Week 4: 2/3
On 24 May, I wore:
Top: me-made Wiksten Tank
Cardigan and trousers: Gap
Shoes: Clarks Originals

I had the camera at a weird angle - it's given me absurdly tiny feet. This photo makes me question this outfit, when I thought it looked pretty good on the day.

I'm not enjoying the self-portrait aspect of MMM'12 - I know for readers of my blog (hello!) it's mostly been me grimacing at the camera (sorry about that). Imagine what the outtakes look like! At school, I had a friend who had spent a ridiculous amount of time (and film - this is pre-digital!) perfecting her camera face. I scoffed at the time, and thought it was weird how she looked the exact same in all her photos (while I was fooling around puffing my cheeks out etc). But at least she knows how to work the camera. While I mostly glare, grimace, or stare at the floor.

But I digress...
MMM'12: Week 4: 3/3

On 26 May, I wore:
Top: me-made Sorbetto
Shorts: Gap
Shoes: ancient - I probably shouldn't wear them (no arch support).

So, we're in the final stretch! I'm planning on wearing a me-made item for each of these last few days.

speak soon!

24 May 2012

Quilted Kindle cover

You all know how great it is to give gifts, no matter how big or small, grand or humble. I usually get quite worked up about what exactly I'm going to give someone, especially for birthdays and Xmas, but when it comes to the giving it's worth the angst. Not so when it comes to my sister. She is great at so many things, but receiving gifts is not one of them. "Oh this is quite nice" "What is it?" "Oh... a [gift]. That's good" "Ohhhhkkkkaaaay - I see" - just some of the responses over the years. She's not being mean spirited or ungrateful - she just doesn't quite get tone. So each birthday/Xmas, I try to get the present that will elicit the response.

Anyway, it was her birthday a few weeks ago, and I knew she was receiving a Kindle from our parents, so I decided to risk a handmade Kindle cover.

I used this great tutorial by Whipstitch, and chose three of my favourite saved-for-no-reason-at-all fabrics from my stash. It uses very little fabric, and some quilt batting (great if you have scraps of batting saved "just in case"!).
I'm not thrilled with how the corners turned out, but aside from that, it's very cute.
I used some Cosmo Cricket print for the exterior and floral interior; the spots are Kaffe Fassett (in Tomato - I might need a skirt in this print!)

I pretty much followed the tutorial as set out, except I added a bit of quilting to the front for interest.
some quilting detail

And she loved it. In fact, I think she used all the exclamations of joy and appreciation that she's been holding back on over the years. That reaction is the greatest of my sewing achievements to date!
appreciation photo
speak soon

20 May 2012

MMM'12: Week 3

Week 3 already! Here's what I wore:
MMM'12: Week 3: 1/3

On 16 May, I wore:
Top: my new Colette Sorbetto!
Trews: Gap
Shoes: Clarks

I decided to revisit the Colette Sorbetto for a quick make to help get over the Violet-fail glums.
Colette Sorbetto with sleeves

I made a few mods: I removed the pleat and added sleeves (which I lengthened by 1.5"). I also used a different method for the neck binding, because I didn't want to make a feature of it. So it's basically a woven tee.
here's a little close up of the neckline - the binding is folded back
The fabric is a light cotton lawn I picked up from Goldhawk Road last summer. I used 1m, which at £4 + free pattern makes for a very cheap and cheerful make.
MMM'12: Week 3: 2/3

On 19 May, I wore:
Top: Me-made Wiksten Tova
Trews: Gap Khakis
Shoes: Clarks Originals

It was warm enough to bare my ankles yesterday. Too too thrilling! I spent the day outdoors in the gorgeous Kent countryside, visiting Lullingstone Castle. Naturally, I totally forgot to pack my camera. But if you fancy popping along to a very lovely little old castle in Kent, I highly recommend Lullingstone, where the Hart Dyke family who've owned the castle since the 1300s run the place (Mr Hart Dyke told us to "hurry along girls, or you'll miss all the fun" as we arrived). And the cake in the refreshment tent is too yummy. There's nothing more beautiful than the English countryside in Spring - I came home totally re-energised, and full of good clean air. hoorah!

MMM'12: Week 3: 3/3

On 20 May, I wore:
Top: me-made Wiksten Tank
Cardigan: Uniqlo
Jeans: Citizens of Humanity
Accessory: Mum's ridiculous poodle, Mika (though that's too ridiculous a name for a dog, so I call him Michael)

Isn't this exciting - a new backdrop for the photo! My parents insisted on having a BBQ today, even though it was about 12C and very grey. The top is one of three I made in March - like the other two, I used 1m of Liberty lawn. You can't see the print very clearly, but it's brilliant - lots of different animal silhouettes in shades of grey on a black and white background (it reminds me a bit of Karen's dino print skirt). I should have taken a close up, but if you are interested, here's the same print in a different colourway (source: Shaukat).

Just a week and a half of MMM'12 left! I might have to start repeating me-mades, unless the sun comes out!

speak soon!

14 May 2012

MMM'12: Week 2 and another Violet fail

Just two MMM'12 photos this week. We'll get to why there's no third in a bit.

MMM'12: Week 2: 1/3

On 10 May I wore:
Me-made Simplicity 2593 in Liberty Claire-Aude
Cardigan: Zara
Jeans: Topshop

This top is one of the first items of clothing I ever made. It's part of my spring/summer wardrobe, so it was nice to get it out of storage again. I'd sort of forgotten about it (the best thing about unpacking the new season's wardrobe is rediscovering old favourites) and it's a really good basic top. I like this pattern, and definitely want to make another (the version with the twisted collar).

MMM'12: Week 2: 2/3

On 12 May I wore:
Me-made Wiksten Tova in Nani Iro Fuwari Fuwari brushed cotton
Jeans: Citizens of Humanity
Shoes: Clarks Originals

Can you believe that this is only the second time I've worn this? It's because it's a weird length for me: generally, I don't do tunics. But I love this top, and don't want to shorten it because that would mean having to lop off some of that very beautiful print (and I was so deliberate with the cutting to make the most of it).

At roughly the half-way mark, a clear pattern emerges: my outfits consist primarily of me-made tops, jeans and (most often, Clarks) shoes. In warmer weather, instead of jeans it's usually shorts or turned-up khakis. My office has no dress code, so I can be as casual as I like. I usually start the week in very smart attire (pencil skirt and heels), but by Friday it's jeans and Converse (actually, I work from home most Fridays, so it's "lounge-wear"). I'd like to add a few more casual skirts and dresses into the mix. I think I fall back on the jeans-and-top combo because it's just so easy (and I'm on auto-pilot until 10am, so the fewer decisions I have to make in the morning, the better).

On 13 May, I wore my second (and quite possibly last) Violet blouse. I finished this up last week, and was so excited about wearing it. It's a bit Cath-Kidstony and on the twee side, but I think it's cute. However, after about 10 minutes of wearing it, it had to come off (and so no outfit photo).
Excuse the creases, but I pulled it out of the laundry bin for the photo

I don't know how to diagnose the fitting issues, perhaps you can help?

Basically, it looks absolutely fine if I don't move. In addition to the SBA, I took some of the excess out of the back (about 1/2") and that fits better (roomy, but not baggy). The problem I had with wearing the top is around the high bust area. The collar gapes right at the centre front, and after moving around a bit, there are some weird small folds of fabric around the high bust. Also, the blouse rides up a bit and bunches up under my arms (and I'm not doing any exaggerated movements for this to happen - just walking around). Did I do too much of a SBA with this? Does that explain the folds? It doesn't feel tight anywhere.

I was quite disheartened by this, and felt a bit "one step forward, one step back" with my sewing. So I've cut out a couple of Tovas to work on this week, which should be a nice boost to my confidence. If nothing else, I can happily spend the rest of my sewing life sewing up Tovas. After all, they look great with jeans.

Speak soon

6 May 2012

MMM'12: Week One

Here's what I wore for week one of MMM'12 (I'm only playing three days a week):

MMM'12: Week 1: 1/3
Day one (May 2) I wore:
Skirt: me-made Wiksten Tulip skirt
T-shirt: Cos
Cardigan & tights: Gap
Shoes: Clarks

I love this skirt! But it isn't lined, as I'd intended it for warmer weather. And as I didn't wear a slip under it, I ended up with a donut of skirt around my hips by the time I'd walked to work. Fortunately for everyone, I had a knee-length coat on to preserve my modesty. The cotton/linen blend was super - it didn't crease at all!

MMM'12: Week 1: 2/3

Day two (May 4) I wore:
Top: me-made Wiksten Tova shirt
Long-sleeve T: Uniqlo
Jeans: Citizens of Humanity
Shoes: Clarks

I had a day off work (hoorah), but since I've also come down with a cold, I spent most of the day feeling sorry for myself. And some of it sewing (yay). It was a chilly and gloomy day so layers were required! I know I  was a bit critical about this top when I first made it, and didn't expect to wear it much at all. But it's really grown on me, and actually gets a lot of wear. I need more. Incidentally, I discovered that MacCulloch & Wallis stock this fabric - it's viscose (I had no idea what it was when I bought it) and is selling for £10 ex VAT. I bought mine from Fabrics Galore and I definitely didn't pay that much. (By the by, these shoes are the most amazingly comfortable shoes ever. Like pyjamas for the feet.)

MMM'12: Week 1: 3/3
Day three (May 5), I wore:
top: me-made Colette Sorbetto
sweater: Gap
Jeans: Uniqlo

So at the end of this first week, I've come to the realisation that my me-made wardrobe is too warm-weather focused. Which is fine, except I live in London and it seems as though there's just going to be rain and gloom for the rest of the year (with the Olympics and Queen's Jubilee, what's to be expected!).  This is impractical for MMM'12 (I suspect there will be a lot of me-mades under shop-bought sweaters ahead), but it has helped me focus my sewing plans. I definitely need more long-sleeved tops, and some alternatives to jeans for the weekend - maybe some casual skirts? I'm not ready to try sewing my own trousers yet! Perhaps it's time to crack open the Renfrew, and maybe add a couple more Tovas to the mix.

Ahh - too much to sew, too little time ...

Speak soon!